British Executions

William Churcher

Age: 35

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 22 Jul 1902

Crime Location: Clarence Buildings, Alverstone, Gosport

Execution Place: Winchester

Method: hanging

Executioner: William Billington


William Churcher was convicted of the murder of his partner Sophia Jane Hepworth 30 and sentenced to death.

He stabbed her to death on 10 April 1902 at their home in Clarence Buildings, Alverstone, Gosport.

Sophia Hepworth has been drinking earlier in the evening and had gone into the river near where they lived.

William Churcher had come home at 11pm and fished Sophia Hepworth out of the river and taken her back home where they argued.

He stabbed her 33 times and the next morning left the house. The police were later called after Sophia Hepworth failed to turn up for an appointment and neighbours said that they had heard Sophia Hepworth begging for her life and they broke in the find Sophia Hepworth dead with a towel around her head.

William Churcher said that he had acted in self-defence after Sophia Hepworth had attacked him with a knife but the judge noted that he had stabbed her 33 times and had not gone straight to the police.

He was convicted with a strong recommendation to mercy but was not reprieved.

see National Archives - HO 144/580/A63488